The shift to ‘virtual first’ organizations will undoubtedly continue

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COVID-19 has shifted most organizations in the developed world to predominantly virtual work.

The question is what happens from here.

Of course there many unknowns around how long it takes to resume work practices similar to 2019 and before, the timeline for a potential vaccine or other measures that may support that return, or indeed whether we will ever see the complete easing of today’s social distancing.

Many organizations are explicitly or implicitly waiting for a return to ‘normal’ workplaces, in the meantime doing the best they can while most of their employees are forced to work from home.

However an increasing number of organizations are clearly stating that they expect never to return to work as it was before.
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Designing future organizations based on ethical foundations for AI

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I recently spoke at Tech: The New Era conference, which was part of London Tech Week, in a conversation with Kriti Sharma on the ethics of AI.

I had previously interviewed Kriti as part of the OFX/BBC Storyworks Where the world is moving podcast series I hosted in a very interesting episode on AI ethics, so I was delighted to have the chance for another fascinating conversation with her.

My core message was that we have critical decisions to make in how we use and implement AI. We must start by thinking through the ethical issues and potential implications of AI, and from that designing the future organizations that will in turn shape all of society and the role of humans in creating value.
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Future of the gig economy? Braintrust IT freelancer platform is run by its users using tokens

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In our relatively recently connected economy, platforms have appropriated an outsized proportion of value creation. That is a problem.

There have been many initiatives to build user-owned platforms, supported by tools such as the Platform Co-op Development Kit, and a handful of small scale successes such as Up & Go and Stocksy.

Now Braintrust, an IT freelancer platform, has just raised $18 million to support a very interesting approach, issuing blockchain-based tokens to its users to give them effective ownership of the platform.
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In this decade civil war and lack of trust in government could drive cryptocurrencies

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A very interesting article in Coindesk, The Currency Cold War: Four Scenarios, explores four possible scenarios for the global currency landscape in the year 2030, based on possiblities that future of money guru David Birch proposes in his new book The Currency Cold War.

I was honoured to be interviewed for the article alongside luminaries such as Brett King and Heathervescent.

We asked a handful of futurists to share some thoughts on a few scenarios [for the future of global currencies and the internet], mostly in the name of a fun thought-experiment. The real world consequences are serious, though. “This is not just fun, it’s critically important,” says futurist Ross Dawson. “The world of money could change fundamentally in the next 10 years, and the implications could be massive. This is something we really need to be actively thinking about.”

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In COVID times: the value of keeping journals and leadership for organisational reinvention

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I was delighted to be a guest on Zanele Njapha‘s Future-fit Fridays podcast, with her dynamic style helping bring out some of my strongest-held beliefs.

You can listen to the interview on Apple or Spotify, or the full transcript is below.

Zanele opened by asking me about my practice of keeping a journal, following up by asking me if this was particularly relevant today. I agreed.

These are very challenging times for almost all of us and so this is a time when we can get value in reflecting, by writing and capturing our own thoughts

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Conversation with Harold Jarche: Sense-making in a networked world and personal knowledge mastery

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Harold Jarche and I have long known each other online. He started blogging in 2000 while I jumped in in 2002, so we were part of an initially small but burgeoning community exploring online connections before and as modern social media started to emerge.

We actually did meet face-to-face briefly some years ago when by an odd coincidence both of us had engagements in Toronto on the same day, but we have certainly shared and explored each others’ ideas and content at length over many years.
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With the launch of Infinite Office Facebook is making a play for virtual reality offices

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From today’s suite of virtual reality and augmented reality product launches by Facebook, one of the most interesting was its announcement of Infinite Office, allowing users to work on multiple screens in a virtual/ augmented reality space.

I shared some thoughts on the announcement and what it means for the rise of virtual offices in this brief segment on The Virtual Excellence Show. See below for the video transcript.


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The next generation of tools to enhance serendipity in remote work environments

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The greatest value of people working in organizations is not having them act as cogs in a machine, but in interacting to spawn ideas and insights that generate new opportunities.

I have long explored the value of serendipity in work environments, and in particular how we can ‘enhance’ serendipity to make happy, fortuitous connections between people and ideas more likely.

In a world of remote work, often dominated by scheduled video meetings, serendipitous connections are far harder to come by.

A recent Wall Street Journal article examines some of the tools being used to mimic the accidental conversations around the office water cooler.
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The shift to contactless physical retail and promise of haptics for online retail

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Yesterday the Sunrise national breakfast TV program featured brief excerpts from an interview with me highlighting two related key trends: Physical retail is going contactless, avoiding touch where possible, and online retail is using haptics to enable touch and feel at a distance.


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Choosing our lives from infinite possibility

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In Jose Luis Borges’ exquisite story The Garden of Forking Paths he beautifully evokes the many different paths that our lives could take.

Every day we make choices small and large that lead our lives down a particular path, collapsing the infinite possible directions into the one reality we actually live.
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